A mind of her own
Well, it was a very different Fourth of July holiday. A friend whom we had seen now and then over the years was our invited houseguest. A well-read, educated and sophisticated New Yorker, as much a devotee of the Tuesday Science section of the New York Times as I am and a wonderful storyteller, she was a delightful guest who helped out unceremoniously.
We enjoyed her company. But we were astonished by her revolutionary ideas about health practices, considering her awareness of media reports about health issues. She just recently quit smoking and only because it was no longer allowed inside her office, in most restaurants, and most public buildings. So her giving up cigarettes had little if anything to do with the health warnings that are an old story by now. She also made it clear that she is absolutely opposed to root canals—has so advised her dentist, saying “out with the tooth” rather than undergo that treatment.
She won’t hear of budging on that position, or on her dictum, “No colonoscopy, ever!" Virtually every grandparent/reader of the Science Times and many who are not so well informed on the preventative benefits of undergoing that unpleasant experience every 5 or 7 years accept their doctor’s recommendation. “It’ll never happen!” insists my recalcitrant friend. She is also opposed to exercise and hates skimmed milk, vegetables, and fish.
But perhaps the biggest “No-No” she presented to us: She will have "nothing to do with seat belts, hates 'em." So in driving around our small town and even the long highway trip to get here, she was seatbelt-less. She buckles the thing, and sits on it, then makes it clear, this too is non-negotiable.
Of course, she is vibrant, the picture of good health. We couldn’t reform her diet or her position on medical and dental procedures, but what about driving her around without a seatbelt? I was glad when the three of us were in the car, so she could at least sit in the back; but it’s the law and we’re responsible, are we not? At least when my grandchildren are guests, I can insist on our rules!
What do you do with a mentally alert, energetic, and rebellious grandparent other than tighten your own belt and drive carefully?
July 29, 2008